Monday, December 31, 2012

Atlantic Yards in 2012: A huge debut for Barclays Center; lingering taint and questions mostly pushed aside by arena events, pro sports, and lauded building

Reuters photo from first Nets home game
#HelloBrooklyn. (Or was that Crooklyn?)

The year 2012 marked a seismic shift in the Atlantic Yards saga. The conflict over the project, and lingering questions over the promises behind it, were mainly supplanted by celebration of and hype for the Barclays Center (and events within) and Brooklyn Nets.

Not only did most press coverage come from the sports and entertainment media, rather than the potentially more skeptical Metro pages, the buzz was compounded by something arena developers surely didn't imagine when Atlantic Yards was announced in 2003: social media.


Fractional team/arena owner Jay-Z--far more important than developer Bruce Ratner could've imagined--generated huge headlines and social media impact with his eight straight concerts, purported design of the Nets' black-and-white logo, and even a viral encounter with a lady on the subway. He even made the cover of the New York Times T Magazine supplement, interviewed by a genuflecting Zadie Smith.

Meanwhile, there was much paid media, with the Brooklyn Nets producing a skein of sponsorships and saturation advertising. Nets' merchandise flew off the shelves Even if it remains unclear exactly how much of "Brooklyn" has embraced the team, "Brooklyn" remains a potent signifier.

For Forest City Ratner, there was a value to the project delays. With no flagship tower looming at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, the arena and project make a more modest impact, and the temporary plaza seems public, the temporary oculus--with its digital signage--already iconic to some.

The new subway entrance
The enormously valuable new transit entrance is public, not buried within an Urban Room attached to a giant office tower. And the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street subway hub was not co-named with the name Barclays but rather saw Barclays Center replace Pacific Street.

Meanwhile, the march of other towers to the north on Flatbush Avenue has softened the impact of the planned Atlantic Yards towers, at least on arena block.

But no one's reckoned with the project as a whole; such renderings don't exist. (Remember planner Ron Shiffman's 2006 warning, “The density proposed by Forest City Ratner far exceeds the carrying capacity of the area’s physical, social, cultural, and educational infrastructure.")

Is AY done?

Atlantic Yards may seem done, as the controversy has mostly subsided, but it's not; the cumulative impacts of the entire project--not just the arena--are what alarmed people and, indeed, the lingering court case reminds us that there are 16 towers to be built.

The larger issues--the taint over the arena process--have been nudged aside by most though not forgotten. There were still protests.

And even the New York Times, which displayed notably variable coverage, cited that Bruce Ratner's " reputation for promising anything to get a deal, only to renegotiate relentlessly for more favorable terms."

I call this all part of the Culture of Cheating.

But even legitimate stories have been mostly ignored by the media: court decisions ordering the state to perform a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement on the impact of a potential 25-year buildout; the demise of Community Benefits Agreement signatory BUILD, the failure to provide the promised 2,000 $15 tickets before each game. (Forget complicated stuff like the funding from immigrant investors.)

Could it hurt to have the Daily News as your partner on the plaza? Do media outlets depend too much on Barclays ads? Or is it just media fatigue?

Atlantic Yards, I wrote last year, "will be a case study in public relations." Developer Bruce Ratner this year claimed that, in 100 years, "No one will care what we had to do to make it happen." (Maybe, but for now, and we'll remember.)

Making their luck

Though arena developers--Forest City Ratner, with Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim Group--spent big money on advertising and promotion, they did several things right, enough to ensure that most coverage--from a press generally willing to be spoon-fed--focused on the positive:
  • they hired SHoP to put that lizard skin on (and revamp) an Indiana barn of an arena (and none of the enthralled architecture critics mention the missing office building)
  • they hired locally and trained workers to be pleasant (though most jobs pay low, part-time wages)
  • they involved Brooklyn food vendors (though under the corporate umbrella of Levy restaurants, and at high prices)
  • they got it all open in time (though without the promised community events pre-opening)
  • they gave away tickets to local nonprofits (though the promise of 2,000 $15 tickets was something of a dodge, and there have been no community events)
  • big-name concerts were a huge success (even if promised monthly boxing turned into quarterly, at best)
Beyond that, Forest City announced an innovation in modular construction (thus avoiding questions about too little affordable housing and cuts in worker compensation if not hours).

SHoP, the hot local architecture firm hired has turned out to be a much better fit, after all, than Frank Gehry. The latter's fame may have been necessary to get Forest City support and publicity, but Gehry had the unfortunate habit of shooting off his mouth, cracking that protestors "should've been picketing Henry Ford" and calling Bruce Ratner "do-gooder, liberal," just like him. SHoP principals have been good, creative soldiers, fulling that $54 million investment (the new facade), made, as Forest City would say, "for public reasons."

Navigating the tight fit

Banners that came and went in Prospect Heights
There were big media bounces from headliners like Barbra Streisand, the Rolling Stones, Justin Beiber, and Andrea Bocelli--most but not all unlikely to play Barclays regularly. (Bieber will be back, as will Jay-Z).

Perhaps the biggest fear--Carmageddon from traffic jams--has been averted, thanks to use of transit and a heavy police presence, neither of which Forest City will pay for.

Still, there's little margin for error and, as documented steadily by Atlantic Yards Watch, out-of-control fans (as with Bieber), idling limos (especially from expensive concerts), booming bass (from a couple of bass-heavy concerts) and chaos on Park Slope streets (often), the nearest neighbors still bear the brunt of an arena encroaching on residential districts.

Building on Brooklyn

"Brooklyn will become a chant," promised the Nets' advertising and, indeed, it did, bolstered by a surprisingly good team anthem (but not by a cartoonish mascot). "September is just the beginning," promised another ad.



The Nets have been bolstered by two flattering tv/web series, The Association (from NBA TV) and Road to Brooklyn (from Jay-Z's Life+Times channel). Team owners have done their best to make a connection with the Dodgers.

Despite bad luck in the draft and free agency, the Nets achieved a rapid roster revamp, with Mikhail Prokhorov opening his wallet to (over)pay for Joe Johnson and re-sign Deron Williams. In November, that looked golden, as the Nets streaked to victory. In December, the team floundered, leading to the firing of the coach.

And there was more. Indeed, in October came the surprising news that the New York Islanders, mired in an antiquated arena on Long Island, would move to Brooklyn in 2015, if not sooner, and move to an arena distinctly made for hoops, not hockey--but able to take advantage of public transit and a lucrative TV contract.

Changing accountability landscape

Despite a significant moral victory in court, and a couple of protests, project opponents and critics generally diminished their activity. Though Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and BrooklynSpeaks (and its component groups) were joined by others in the protests, the single busiest initiative, understandably, was Atlantic Yards Watch, tracking the impacts of the project.

The valuable compendium No Land Grab ceased regular publication after the arena opened, and a New York Times article chronicled those "exhausted" by losing the battle--but failed to point out the community victory in court and the ongoing need for oversight and skepticism.

“There’s nothing I want more than not to be involved,” Peter Krashes, active in AY Watch, told the Times. "The problem is, only when paid professionals working in the public interest are doing their jobs do I get to go away.”

Council Member Letitia James and state Senator Velmanette Montgomery appeared at protests. Council Member Steve Levin convened meetings about arena impacts. While the project may have a role in local politics--even State Senator Eric Adams and Assemblyman (now Congressman-elect) Hakeem Jeffries held a protests about delayed benefits-- the arena has an unmistakable gravitational pull.

There were more Brooklyn elected officials at the arena ribbon-cutting than at the 2010 groundbreaking, and a few different ones at the groundbreaking for the first tower, B2. And critics and opponents have been placed in the somewhat awkward position--which should be occupied by Ratner's allies--of pointing out the failure to produce promised jobs and housing.

January

Company fabricating arena's metal facade shuts down. Arena completion date nudged back; site work could continue almost to opening.

Atlantic Yards construction worker uproots "No Standing" sign to get free parking on Pacific Street.

Forest City Ratner says it's done nothing "inappropriate" in regard to the sequence that led to guilty pleas by state Sen. Carl Kruger and lobbyist Richard Lipsky. Well, nothing illegal.

MSBNC publishes a Mikhail Prokhorov profile by Robert Windrem, whose role as "Net Income" of NetsDaily goes unmentioned.

Times columnist Michael Powell describes Bruce Ratner as a "developer between legal clouds"--regarding the Yonkers case and the Carl Kruger case Betsy Gotbaum defends Ratner; it's a birthday present.

A look at the Nets' media strategies: a press release a day, never discuss ticket giveaways.

Forest City Ratner's designed lurker and his powerful familial ties.

Where's the Independent Compliance Monitor? Brooklyn Eagle gets evasive responses.

Elected officials Adams, Jeffries, Camara criticize lack of Atlantic Yards jobs, housing, seek governance reform. Montgomery, James missing. Adams & Camara probably won't get Forest City campaign cash any more.

Gerrymandering (like the "Bed-Stuy boomerang" for Atlantic Yards) is just fine for immigrant investor EB-5 projects, according to the federal agency in charge.

Former Atlantic Yards point man Jim Stuckey, who resigned suddenly from his NYU position, is sued for sexual harassment.

Groundbreaking for first residential tower again pushed back; goal of more larger units won't be met.

Transportation Demand Management plan delayed; Nets then survey fans. TDM plan criticized.

It turns out MWBE contracting numbers lag behind ambitious promises.

February

Even interviewed by a friendly publication, Bruce Ratner verbally "snaps" when asked about the non-arena parts of the project.

In his State of the Borough address, Borough President Marty Markowitz talks up the possibility of the Nets getting free agent center Dwight Howard.

Forest City Enterprises makes corporate shifts, finally installing majority of independent directors.

Carlton Avenue Bridge delayed, setting up breakneck pace to get it done; construction until 3 am. Arena said to be "slightly ahead of schedule," thanks to changed schedule.

New schedule for arena exterior.
Wall Street Journal graphic
Forest City executive Sanna's bundling for Bill de Blasio.
The perils from car stackers at arena parking lot: noise and delays.

Steiner plans 52-story tower, The Hub, near BAM and arena.

Appeals court argument on Atlantic Yards timetable case.

Investor buys building scheduled for second round of Atlantic Yards eminent domain, suggesting condemnation won't be coming soon. Six-story building planned at Bergen Tile site across from arena at Flatbush and Dean.

In City Limits package on Atlantic Yards, Bertha Lewis is said to claim "that that some who opposed the Community Benefits Agreement privately lambasted the idea of having a 'high-rise ghetto.'"

Goldman, Sachs seems to schedule a meeting of the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation; it's canceled after some inquiries.

A mountain of soil on Block 1129.

The Mystery of Ridge Hill. The curiously timed departure of Forest City's Bruce Bender and Scott Cantone. Columnist Powell "tracks the tentacles of corruption."

Testimony in the Yonkers corruption trial suggests that Forest City Ratner had behaved in a questionable manner, offering political fixer Zehy Jereis a no-show job, with little checking up on him, after he got Council Member Sandy Annabi to change her vote. Forest City sure wasn't bilked.

The dailies mostly ignore the trial; even Crain's columnist Greg David notices. In Times article, Forest City flack gets to defend against unidentified "critics."

March

Ashley Cotton, Bruce Bender's replacement, is on board.

New Barclays Center video relies on Jay-Z. Marketing plan aims to sell Brooklyn as much as basketball.

Forest City's Sanna gets star treatment in The Real Deal.

Construction workers create more free parking near arena site.

Forest City takes firm step to modular plan.

Charlie Rose, sycophant, interviews Ratner about "Atlantic City Yards." Ratner's softball NYT interview; dodges question about housing configuration.

LIU, big arena supporter, to play at Barclays Center.

New Domino project in Williamsburg overextended; developer lacks Ratner's survival skills.

Forest City adds more 2BR units to first tower, but still lags behind promises.

Forest City aims to shrink planned parking lot.

311 complaints supposed to be assigned to 620 Atlantic Avenue.

Barclays Center advertising in CNG And other papers.

"Brooklynized" water coming to Barclays?

Nets Shop to be operated by adidas.

BusinessWeek looks at "dodgy" EB-5 program.

Times calls arena site the new "center of gravity" for Brooklyn.

The Occupy movement visits the arena site: "This is what kleptocracy looks like."

Watching the Nets in Newark: inexpensive, but no bargain.

Yonkers defendants found guilty; Forest City says case is not about the company's actions.

Bruce Ratner tells the Daily News, "For 100 years, this was a train depot in the middle of downtown Brooklyn." Really?

After complaints from neighbors, Forest City agrees not to use noisy hoe ram at night.

April

Final Nets games in New Jersey available for less than a buck.

Carlton Avenue Bridge could open "before asphalt paved," to save time.

Daily News moving Golden Gloves to Barclays. Jay-Z goes from Marcy to Barclays in new commercial.

Forest City? Good corporate citizen or relentless seeker of advantage? One-shot budget gimmicks, including Ridge Hill, part of Yonkers' fiscal mess.

Lots of office space in Downtown Brooklyn suggests little market for AY office space.

The journalist known as the Notorious Stephen Witt says he will try to avoid "personal axes to grind."

Brooklyn arena financing an exception to "the exception to the exception" in the tax code.

Forest City's 2011 lobbying bill jumps.

Prokhorov in Brooklyn--the conquering hero, to most but not all journalists.

Appellate court upholds decision ordering SEIS. Ruling, in a way, echoes Lupica. MAS on the wrong side of history by leaving BrooklynSpeaks.

Prokhorov admits to corrupt dealings but not lawbreaking.

Times op-ed criticizes EB-5 but suggests solutions are straightforward.

Times focuses on retail changes around arena, unskeptically quotes flack as suggesting "dreary rail yards" already transformed; bizarre graphic suggests arena is quite modest in size. Times publishes article on pseudo-scandal while scanting AY legal case.

Original architect Frank Gehry grudgingly admits that scale was an issue for project neighbors.

Forest City's malls identified as "crime epicenter."

Atlantic Yards cheerleader Zarzana, ex-union leader, indicted for organized crime.

Nets' ticket prices leap in move from NJ to BK. Arena/team CEO Brett Yormark cites a home-court advantage.

Community boards says Barclays Center liquor license requires community outreach. Locals want code of conduct. CB6 committee supports license, with reservations, resists bottle-service lounge Kemistry.

Narrow Dean Street sidewalks documented.

PHNDC's' ignored request to get public input before construction of the new parking lot.

Nets "brand identity launch: much new merchandise, and a new logo, which Yormark attributes to Jay-Z. The "borough is the message."

2,000 arena jobs? Not FTE. Looks like just 105 full-time arena jobs.

May

Sign on back of Ratner's retail outlet near arena: "Please don't urinate here."

ESD CEO Adams announces on-site arena parking halved, seeks way to formalize public input on AY.

Praise for candidate Jeffries ignores his AY role.

Letter to Mayor from Carlton Avenue resident who can't sleep at night. "Loud banging noises" predicted at arena site.

I break news that Barbra Streisand is coming to arena, talked up on Fox 5; Jay-Z performing "five" concerts.

Arena jobs to be filled not through BUILD but city's workforce center.

Railyard lights on all night to rush completion of Carlton Avenue Bridge.

The "moral limits of markets" and the Atlantic Yards impact.

Why did Forest City escape in the Yonkers corruption case? Conspiracy charge would've been tough to win.

The RPA's criticisms of (not well-described) Atlantic Yards, in an analysis of building the Next New York.

Leonard Cohen coming to arena; "everybody knows."

Park Slope, not so gentrified, in the 1970s.

A laudatory profile of Amanda Burden leaves out Atlantic Yards.

TDM plan released, focus on less parking, more service. Why the delay? Frustrations at meeting on TDM plan; no penalties for not meeting goals. Savings from scrapping free MetroCard. Questions pending. Gridlock Sam's contradictions (and history of praise). TDM documents released.

Neighborhood Protection Plan proposed, draws on Wrigley. Coverage round-up.

Sports Business Journal: 183 events set at arena.

Bad luck for Nets in NBA draft lottery.

June

Construction vehicles on local streets; cops parking on sidewalk.

In legal papers, Forest City says Atlantic Yards site "now cleared but formerly blighted."

Start date on permanent railyard pushed back 18 months. MTA says it leaves agency whole.

Construction workers like to hang out at kids' playground.

Sharpton claims Ratner's lived up to all his promises.

Fears of a Tight Fit for Brooklyn's Arena.

Not one but two hospital partners. Are sponsorship numbers solid? Nets pay for those "First Home Game Since 1957" signs in shop windows.

Clergy-led protest led by Committe for Arena Justice seeks oversight, penalties, compliance monitor.

The Brooklyn Flea as emblem of Brooklyn.

Forest City mulls plans to revamp its malls.

Judge says lawsuit against BUILD, Forest City can proceed on most counts.

Community boards weren't told about post-event alcohol service. CB8 seeks curbs on arena liquor license. At SLA hearing, CBs 2 & 6 support license; Forest City apologizes for poor communication over hours, says no bottle service planned.

AYW: Construction Alerts didn't warn of loud overnight noise. Video. Work on arena elevator and roof/facade goes 24/7.

Landscape architects' organization calls for greening parking lot. Parking lot work proceeds, despite stop-work roder; tanks "placed," not installed.

Actress Carmen Ejogo, Brooklyn mag cover subject, says she opposed arena but will bring her son, a big basketball fan.

The impact of Berman v. Parker on Atlantic Yards and historic neighborhoods nearby.

Court of Appeals denies attempt to appeal decision ordering Atlantic Yards SEIS. State more open to governance entity than Forest City.

Meeting on arena operations: parking, loading dock, metal detectors. No, Forest City won't pay for police. Nets games supposed to have 18,200 sellable seats.

Consistently inconsistent: Markowitz wants arena treated like any other facility.

Forest City's savings on nonexisting "NetroCards" will go to marketing, it seems, but numbers are murky.

T-shirt: "I'm still calling it Atlantic Av-Pacific St" emerges even before Barclays scandal raises the ante.

July

Construction makes Sixth Avenue difficult to traverse. No on takes charge.

Bob Diamond resigns. Barclays' claim: "we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean."

Times front-page news: "Nets Move to Brooklyn with Legitimacy in Sight," confirmed by a sneaker store employee, NBA analyst, Nets official scorer, and longtime season ticket holder.

Third-shift work means "incredibly loud noises."

The arena: from a "venue for amateur athletics, graduations, etc." to Brooklyn Hoops/Show/Boxing/Family.

Famed Knicks fan and famed Brooklynite Spike Lee says, "I'm not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center."

Jay-Z tickets go on sale, for suckers. Media outlets get played with news that demand for first three shows goosed two more.

Prokhorov will pay for stars, but Ratner won't pay for Independent Compliance Monitor, increased police coverage, permit parking program (part of Los Angeles CBA), new subway service, more.

Do Forest City Ratner's part-time job numbers add up?

Nets re-sign Williams after trade for Johnson. Bellowing Markowitz welcomes "Brooklyn's Backcourt" at pep rally, hypes rivalry with "Manhattan Knicks"

NYC DOT recommends no residential permit parking around Barclays Center. Is area near arena really like the Bronx around Yankee Stadium? Lots of reasons for doubt.

Flashback: Barclays' now-departed (because of LIBOR scandal) Bob Diamond at arena groundbreaking.

As retail near arena turns over, broker complains that neighbors are resisting "Hooters-type places."

After Knicks let Jeremy Lin leave for Houston, defections to Nets mount.

Confounding HDC hearing on first Atlantic Yards tower; housing partner says first building falls short but should proceed. Some subsidized rents look high.

Click and Park not quite ready for prepaid parking.

When development promises are undone, shouldn't there be a quid pro quo?

Absurdist Post columnist Peyser credits Ratner for almost single-handed rehab of Brooklyn.

From Atlantic Yards as "economic engine" to arena itself as "economic engine."

The dubiousness of naming rights deals--not just advertising but attempts to buy goodwill, says law professor.

Report validates neighbors' steady complaints about Atlantic Yards construction: "continual violations and difficulty with enforcement."

Atlantic Yards construction violations include cover-up of "documentation falsified by the contractor." Complaints have been documented.

Barclays Center seen as Downtown Brooklyn opportunity by DBP.

The modular plan versus Gehry's goal to not make it "look like a project."

Arena General Manager's departure is mysterious; no one wants to lose someone three months before opening. Arena was supposed to be completed by early July.

August

Daily News columnist Hamill says arena will become "entertainment pacemaker," forgets pledge of 10,000 jobs.

Prepaid parking still not working, though tickets sold.

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio channels Kruger, Golden in condemning those blocking development, cites support for Atlantic Yards.

Roof sponsorship signage coming to arena. State justifies Barclays roof sign/logo, saying it complies with "intent" of Design Guidelines. Ad seen as "extremely valuable piece of inventory."

Jay-Z shills for Budweiser while wearing Nets cap.

GEICO signs on; Yormark is proud to partner with "brands of excellence."

Carlton Avenue Bridge back on schedule, thanks to disruptive overtime.

Barclays Center sign is up, on Atlantic Avenue.

Accidents on Sixth Avenue.

DNAinfo reports: Barclays becoming a BK fixture.

Bruce Ratner tells WSJ: "We work just on the merits."

Front-page NY Times article salutes Jay-Z's role as "celebrity investor;" little room for skepticism.

Final TDM plan, delayed again, has a few tweaks; no Dean Street entrance to parking.Audacious timing: two important docs released after comment period. Transportation plan Q&A: no remedies if performance goals not met, sidewalks still OK, no measures to directly address on-street parking, etc. No response to question about lessons from Wrigley.

An idling 18-wheeler on Pacific Street.

Huge Times article/slideshow compounds marketing campaign: In Brooklyn, It's All Nets.

Barclays Center TV emerges.

Ratner says, in 100 years, "No one will care what we had to do to make it happen." Reporter describes Ratner as "pleasant" and "affable."

Broker says "Brooklyn" is bigger draw than arena.

Times quietly replaces misleading AY arena graphic. Times quotes Ratner as saying arena is a "month ahead of schedule."

Agency, developer wrestle over Atlantic Yards affordability, or why the first tower won't meet the pledges announced.

Mixed reactions to arena's rusted steel cladding.

Metro publishes Barclays Center special section, AKA advertorial.

78th Precinct to cover arena, malls; NYPD commander says they're ready. Less role for CBA officers who head other precinct councils.

Number of plaintiffs in BUILD lawsuit could expand.

SLA approves arena liquor license, but imposes 1 am cutoff, not 2 am as sought. Secondhand coverage  claims MSG/Yankee Stadium have similar after-hours policies.

Expunging "Pacific Street" wasn't the original plan, but defended as practical solution.

September

Atlantic Yards photography from Tracy Collins, painting from Peter Krashes.

What happened to the Atlantic Yards jobs?

Times delves into where Nets players live--outside Brooklyn--and might live, in the borough.

What's wrong with the common Barclays Center rendering? Unbuilt towers and a hovercraft perspective.

As wary neighbors worry about arena opening, Forest City nudges stance on permit parking.

Scrambling toward arena finish line; no "public events and tours" in early September as once promised.

NBA Commissioner Stern predicts revenue jump for Nets.

AY District Service Cabinet to be replaced by Quality of Life Committee.

"September is Just the Beginning" banners appear (and disappear) on Prospect Heights streets.

How Ratner backed off promises to build project in ten years and build conventional towers with union labor.

Markowitz finally explains why he claimed BK was "1000 percent behind Atlantic Yards."

Yormark and a very friendly Billboard interview. Jay-Z hyped in Times Style magazine.

Arena will comply with Bloomberg's limits on sugar drinks, still offers unlimited food option.

Daily News gets first look at subway entrance. Roof logo is in place.

Rail's Hamm says he's "trying to figure out how to come to terms with" arena.

Triangle building across from arena sells for $4.1 million.

As construction hits crunch time, increased truck violations, according to AY Watch. State backed off $10K fines. Ratner claims they did "a huge amount" to placate neighborhood. Arena gets belated TCO.

Brooklyn/L magazines on board with Nets. Times publishes hoops essay by former Forest City contractor Klores, doesn't mention connection.

First Community Sweepstakes program for tickets.

Umar Jordan, once a dramatic booster of AY, now says he's disgusted. Protesters at AYCrimeScene.com list demands, including oversight and new environmental review.

Oculus goes live. New garbage cans, recycling bins on arena block.

New Yorker critic Lange says arena creates "a whole new context."

Daily News puts Hamill's puff on the front page.

Developer's original Atlantic Yards map was quite different.

Times touts arena food. Yormark says Brooklyn story was "took good not to be told" and "moment's even bigger than I expected." Capital NY's McGeveran calls "beautiful structure" Ratner's "apology to Brooklyn."

ArtBridge is back, putting art on fences outside arena and TV lot.

New subway entrance means easier passage between B/Q and 2/3/4/5 trains.

Eric McClure announces No Land Grab to cease regular publishing.

How state agency withheld document giving Forest City 25 years to build Atlantic Yards.

Metro continues "Barclays Countdown."

Arena ribbon-cutting a big win for Ratner, with focus on impressive building. Before the event, a protest. Building's not quite finished. NY Magazine critic proclaims Barclays Center Is Brooklyn’s Ready-Made Monument (but gets spoon-fed on loading dock).

Brooklyn Paper/Courier-Life publish special section.

Markowitz says AY area "not a bedroom community," suggests project will be a "masterpiece of urban planning," says arena will "bring us respect that's long overdue." He claims arena has "good jobs." (A NNY critique.)

The hollowness of the AY CBA, especially when it comes to environmental monitoring.

The Carlton Avenue Bridge reopens.

The branded Barclays Center.

Where exactly are those promised $15 Nets tickets?

No "Brooklynized" water at arena.

Times takes balanced-ish look at "Hurricane Barclays." Times suggests activist Goldstein's just like Ratner, though the former's expansion is as-of-right. Softball Times Q&A with Forest City's Gilmartin.

Bike parking arrives at arena.

Barclays Center appoints Kelly Community Affairs Manager. ESD names Lynch for long-open Government and Community Affairs Manager.

Surprisingly tough NY Times profile of Bruce Ratner, though the lead is buried. Daily News says critics "filed 200 eminent domain lawsuits." (!)

Prokhorov gives $1 million to BAM.

CBA signatory BUILD on shaky ground, according to complaint to AG.

Times says Barclays Center has undercut MSG's price for performers, but doesn't always pass on the savings.

vigil before the arena opening. Groups call for reform, joined by Occupy and two who once "drank Ratner's Kool-Aid"

Daily News sponsors arena plaza. Arena plaza gets sign: "Welcome to Brooklyn."

Jay-Z and the Barclays Center debut: traffic flows, but paparazzi gridlock and Atlantic Avenue blocked. (Gridlock Sam said don't drive.)

The New York Times lets Ratner's flack get last word, makes curious revisions in its coverage, dropping critique of "crony capitalism" and emphasizing whimsy.

Second night of operations; no traffic jams, Atlantic Avenue overrun, idling vehicles. Pacific Street as staging area for police/fire.

That crazy roof laser hits FG Park, Wyckoff Gardens.

October

Arena operations rely on override of traffic lights.

Jay-Z says: "It's our m-f-ing time now"

NPR music editor: "The Barclays Center is fraught, but watching Jay open it was touching"

Times says ride over Manhattan Bridge took 2.5 times as long, but results from opening days support both "skeptics and believers."

Ratner claims "we've already bought all the land."

Critic Goldberger calls arena not extraordinary, but "a decent and at times strong building" with lots of branding. Why arena reviews should wait til after opening.

Gridlock Sam says it's fine to shut down Atlantic Avenue after events.

Barclays Center sponsors "Brooklyn Backstory" in Brooklyn Paper.

Forget the Haier Store; a Sugar Factory is coming to Sixth and Pacific.

CBA signatories all got suites for Jay-Z; Lewis's Black Institute auctioning them off.

Barclays Center as giant neighborhood sub-woofer, as bass from Jay-Z penetrates neighborhood.

Gratz on the Great Brooklyn Bait-and-Switch. Baker on "How to Steal a City."

Jay-Z takes subway. In final concert, Jay-Z brings out Beyonce, disses AY opponents, salutes Jackie Robinson's widow.

Long lines to see Globetrotters; security chief departs.

On Charlie Rose, Ratner calls arena a gift to Brooklyn.

Ron Shiffman wins Jane Jacobs medal, work with DDDB cited.

Arena ad: "extraordinary entertainment has a new home." On the plaza, a booth for videos to express fan enthusiasm.

Streisand concert: no Carmageddon, but lots of idling limos. Tents for the guests. Truck parks outside arena.

The Nets make Sports Illustrated's cover; was it just Prokhorov who gained from "connections, shrewdness, no-bid purchasing."

Subway entrance quiet for morning commuters.

The myopic New York mag critic, who called the arena a monument..

Jay-Z's video channel massages Atlantic Yards opposition away.

Arena says no more metal detectors for Streisand aimed to speed lines, not racial profiling. Post: arena to use wands, not metal detectors for now.

Operations rely on illegal, informal parking lanes on public streets, and honking.

No, it's not a $1 billion arena.

My visit to the branded Barclays Center, for first exhibition game. The "meditation room" is used to store wheelchairs.

Neighbors weigh in on community impacts, trucks, urination.

The drip-drop housing plan; yes, they're going modular.

Metal detectors back for free tickets, at least.

Voice names Barclays Center "Best Sports Venue."

Video series begin: The Association and Road to Brooklyn.

Grantland's breathless salute to the Nets' Brooklyn takeover.

Boxing inaugural a triumph, except for failed drug test and papered house. Early liquor cut-off and somewhat rowdy crowd. Won't be monthly as planned.

Forest City: "blighted" railyard won't get developed until four towers built on parking lot block. Developer says Prokhorov loan paid off, may sell share in Nets.

Does apartment site across from arena block deserve variance because of new context?

Islanders moving to Barclays Center by 2015. No impact on AY housing. Does move vindicate AY, or just the arena (and should NYC/NYS have driven a harder bargain)? For Islanders, key is revenue from luxury suites, premium seats, and TV.

Markowitz admits Atlantic Yards is "among the most contentious developments in America's history."

Times mag essayist: arena is a "shrine to Brooklynland."

Daily News special section honoring the arena includes belated apology to Globetrotters attendees.

Sensation electronica show twice pounds bass into residences near arena. State overseer for Atlantic Yards makes promotional appearance on behalf of Sensation.

Times says arena serves as magnet for yellow cabs; no mention of impact of limos/black cars.

Times critic Kimmelman salutes arena, disses rest of AY plan.

Storm places cloud over Nets-Knicks home opener. Game on schedule despite storm after-effects. Markowitz on board; Yormark promises transportation news. Bloomberg cancels game; Yormark does 360. NBA/Nets try to walk it back, claim they didn't think mass transit would be so hampered. Could a cop have told the mayor's office off? Game rescheduled, NBA/team unscathed.

November

Bloomberg collects kudos, but less attention for his single-mindedness re NYC Marathon, Nets debut.

Brooklyn Recovery Fund debuts, with $100K each from FCR, arena, Nets, but they don't deserve an automatic halo.

Nets win debut, Markowitz at ceremony; fewer impacts than at Streisand show, thanks to charter buses, other plans. Arena GM tells Times columnist discord is getting packed away. What happened to those $15 tickets?

Nets' new, good anthem is all about the borough, not the team.

From the Brooklyn Rail, my essay, A Brand Called Brooklyn.

At the Barclays Center, the value of dark lighting and the photogenic arena plaza (sans office tower).

The NYTimes: The Barclays Center's Media Enabler.

CBA signatory BUILD closes, in wake of funding troubles, allegations. Veconi on the use of the CBA as a wedge.

Bender and Cantone, ex-Forest City, rely on former contacts for consulting clients.

The bizarre BrooklyKnight mascot, cartoon borough defender, and comic book. The Prokhorov comic book.

Fair fight? "NIMBYs" in NYC (including DDDB) dwarfed by YIMBYs.

In While We Were Sleeping, authors, activists take on NYU expansion.

The Brooklyn Game website emerges, supplies content to YES network.

Screaming Bieber fans surround bus on Dean Street; after chaos, cops say they'll have a better plan; still, where do black cars go?

Lessons for Brooklyn in the Oklahoma City hoops fairy tale; most have forgotten the questionable origins.

Metropolis columnist Jacobs, longtime AY opponent, "grudgingly impressed" by arena, hopes for changed site plan.

BUILD's Caldwell defends spending that provoked complaint to AG, suggests it's "right for the people." Plus, some bitter exchanges.

The power of free tickets and giveaways. Behind the community tickets program; it helps to have gotten in early.

Deron Williams welcomed, but gingerly in Williamsburg.

In Yonkers case, Annabi, Jereis get prison terms; judge suggests Forest City's Ridge Hill "arguably led to a good deal of public good." Lawyer for Jereis suggested Forest City was big winner.

Sandy victims get an arena treat.

Barclays Center seen as not cannibalizing Jersey arenas, but what about Nassau Coliseum?


Forest City oddly challenges property assessments regarding arena and other AY property, then withdraws suit.

As predicted, Times reports on how Atlantic Yards opponents are exhausted; neglects to city court win, importance of civic watchdogging.

NYC rivalry amps up with Nets win over Knicks; Markowitz crows. He had said "there's no room" in BK if you don't support the team.

More hiring at the arena: enlarging the pool, or coping with layoffs?

With bank and unions on board; Forest City ready to go modular. FAQ on the first Atlantic Yards tower; it looks like it would cost $24M less than similar 80 DeKalb.

The metal does drip from the pre-rusted arena facade.

At meeting on first tower, questions about affordable housing, design, safety, oversight. Dean Street pedestrian passage narrows to 5 feet. 17 former footprint renters moving in.

December

New towers rising near BAM, with more affordable housing than first AY tower.

The NYC Power 100 and Atlantic Yards: many intersections.

A booming market for scalpers outside arena?

Jay-Z talks up Nets in GQ; video of subway encounter with "adorable old lady" goes viral.

Arena construction monitor, after three-month gap, finally issues report. Fortune loves the arena.

PR Week salutes arena's communications strategy, including three Times placements for first food article. (What about "35 lawsuits"?) Another three-pointer, as Times review published five days early.

Second meeting of Quality of Life Committee: oculus, lighting, idling are issues and limo parking won't go away.

New development fund will invest in first AY tower.

Times series and editorial on subsidies somehow excludes Atlantic Yards.

Architectural Record: facade makes arena "seem surprisingly in sync" but "can't be declared a civic triumph just yet"

In argument on legal fees in timetable case, judge seems skeptical of the state.

Seven firms that worked on AY are on city's watch list.

Barclays Center listed as NY Magazine's top Reason to Love New York. Urination problem not ignored.

Ebbets Field flagpole placed outside arena, with Robinson's daughter in attendance.

Brooklyn Gateway plan, responding to arena and area growth, suggests transportation changes, permit parking, congestion pricing, rapid response team.

Was Transportation Demand Management Plan too flawed to deal with limos/black cars?

Limos idling outside Stones concert. Cars on the Pacific Street sidewalk before Knicks game. Wrestlemania trucks on residential streets.

What's left in arena TCO? Unclear.

Nets' Joe Johnson featured in video, magazine.

The arena's mixed impact on retail neighbors.

My essay, Brooklyn's vaunted, tainted Barclays Center; that missing office tower and ignored RPA suggestions

Providing Brooklyn with the "civic amenity" of an arena.

At groundbreaking for B2 tower, narrative of innovation nudges asked questions about promises of housing and jobs.

The Barclays Center and the shift in perceptions, given the plethora of happy event-goers.

In holiday card, Markowitz salutes Barclays Center and those behind it.

Are cheap seats really for sale? Nets finally explain that, yes, total includes season tickets.

Supplemental EIS process finally starts with Draft Scope. Will it study blight and the potential for other developers?

After a spectacular November, Nets start losing big in December. Was city "under new management"? Coach Avery Johnson fired.

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